Category Archives: advent

King of Kings

 

kingDecember 9 – King of Kings

“Where is the One who has been born the King of the Jews?  We saw His star when it rose and hove come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2

The entirety of the universe worshipped Him. Stars in the heavens announced His birth. Old Testament prophets foretold His arrival, His life, His death and His resurrection. The Jewish people waited eagerly for a mighty king, a descendent of David, who with great power would restore Israel’s freedom and former glory.

And many missed Him.

This baby King entered the world so quietly. Humbly, the King slept in a feeding trough tucked away in cave occupied by livestock. His life declared His majesty. His miracles revealed His sovereignty. His great love communicated His purpose. At the time of His crucifixion, this King was mocked and a placard was fastened to His cross that read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.”

And many missed Him.

Though He came first as a humble baby, meek and mild, make no mistake, He will return as a warrior King to claim what is rightfully His. Revelation 19:16 proclaims His present reality, “On His robe and on His thigh He has the name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.” This King of kings is Jesus. He deserves all glory and honor, and as the Eternal King, He continually receives it from the heavens, creation, angels, and His redeemed.

There will be a day when no one will miss Him…no one will be able to deny Him…

“At the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth…” Philippians 2:10 

Today, Jesus, we praise you as the King of kings and the Lord of lords. You build the only kind of kingdom that will last- the only kingdom worth living in forever. Amen.

Alpha and Omega

alpha-and-omega

December 8 – Alpha and Omega

“I am the Alpha and Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is, and who was, and who is to come, the Almighty.” Revelation 1:8

There is so much more to this name of Jesus than I ever understood. I knew that Alpha and Omega, somewhat like A to Z, were the first and last letters in the Greek alphabet, and I understood the name signified the beginning through  the end of all time. But in truth, that is such a watered down illustration of this mighty name.

Alpha and Omega represents the entirety of all knowledge, all existence and all time. It is beyond what my frail human brain can fathom to consider that before the beginning, there was Jesus…

He was, is and always will be.

All things live, move and have their being in Him. There is nothing…not a single thing…outside the realm of His presence.

In complete sovereignty, He rules over all existence. Colossians 1:16-17 tells us through Him God created everything, in the heavenly realms and on earth, the things we can see and can’t see. Everything was created through Him and for Him.

He existed before anything else and He holds creation together.

This is our Alpha and Omega and more…

He is the author and finisher of our faith. He took upon Himself  the full range of human life like us, and He did this  without sin. He did this knowing all things.

This name fills me with tremendous hope in the knowledge that I am not alone. Alpha and Omega has gone before me, He is with me on this life road, and He will be with me until the end.

Nothing. Nothing… no…thing… takes Him by surprise.

Lord Jesus, our Alpha and Omega, nothing is unknown to you. Thank you for enduring so much with great joy. Thank you for being my companion on this life journey. I want to love you more. I want to trust you more. My pitiful words  and thoughts cannot even begin to express Your greatness and Your sovereignty…Amen.

 

Word of God: December 7th

the-word-of-god

Word of God

John 1:1-3 – “ In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.”

Jesus, Word of God, is one of the more complicated names of Jesus to express and yet, it is one of the most significant. There is deep theological “stuff” packed in this name, and I have struggled with the appropriate “words” to even begin to give this a smidgen of the glory and honor it deserves. And I have failed and fallen terribly short…

This is what I do know…

  • Jesus is God’s Word fully communicated to us. In the past, God spoke and revealed Himself and His Will through prophets, but in Jesus, we have the full revelation of God available to all who are willing to listen.

  • Jesus is God’s creative Word. He spoke everything into existence. I love the picture C. S. Lewis paints of the lion Aslan singing Narnia into creation. This is a beautiful depiction of Creation by and through the Word…Jesus…God Himself.

  • Jesus is God’s final Word. Jesus is the fulfillment of Old Testament prophesies that point to Him. These prophesies both set in motion and complete God’s redemptive plan for His children. Nothing…not a thing more needs to be added or changed for people to have a relationship with God. Nothing…not a thing… in the history of creation can or will ever change what God did through Jesus, the Word, on the cross. “It is finished.” John 19:30

Jesus is the Word of God made available to all, young and old, educated and uneducated, every race, and every language.

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.” John 1:14

 

Father, quiet my heart and open my soul to listen to you today. Thank you for sending us Your Word, Jesus, through whom we can learn more about You. You have not hidden Him in the pages of history, but You have perfectly revealed Him to us in all aspects. Amen.

Bread of Life – December 6th

bread-of-life

Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. He who comes to me will never go hungry, and he who believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35

Jesus satisfies…

He satisfies our every longing.

He satisfies our every desire…with Himself.

When Jesus referred to Himself as the “bread of heaven” or the “bread of life,” the people around Him would have had a very rich understanding of the implications. Bread was an essential part of the Middle Eastern diet. Throughout Scripture, bread has been an important part of worship in both the tabernacle and the temple. Every Sabbath the table of showbread in the holy of holies was set. There was also great significance regarding the manna God so beautifully supplied the Israelites during their time in the wilderness. The manna met the deep physical need of His children.

In referring to Himself as the bread of life, Jesus was going far beyond manna and showbread. The manna of Moses’ time was temporary. It is not random that Jesus declared Himself to be the bread of life the morning after He fed the multitude of five thousand with the young boy’s five barley loaves and two fish. (John 6: 1-14) He met their  physical need of hunger, and then He offered Himself as the One to meet their deep, unmet heart-hunger.

What Jesus offered was eternal. He offered Himself to everyone who would believe in Him. As He does today…

Just as bread satisfied a physical hunger, Jesus satisfies our spiritual and emotional hunger. Until that longing is satisfied in Him, it drives us to fill our lives with the empty and the temporal things that only make us crave more.

Bread of Heaven, only You meet my every need. Teach me to hunger only for You. May You be my heart’s greatest desire. Amen.

The Good Shepherd

 

good-shepherd

The Good Shepherd

“I am the Good Shepherd. The Good Shepherd lays down His life for His sheep.” John 10:11

 

I recently heard a sermon about the Good Shepherd, and I was struck by the distinction made between a hired shepherd and a shepherd who cared for his own sheep.

Both look upon their sheep as companions and income. They care for the physical needs of their sheep, feeding them, tending their wounds, and protecting them from themselves and predators. Shepherds also know their sheep. They know their peculiar little personalities and their disposition to wander. Shepherds know they must lead their absentminded little creatures. Sheep need strong shepherds who will remain close and watchful.

 

The great difference between a hired shepherd and the “good” shepherd  who owns his flock is the issue of sacrifice. What is a hired shepherd willing to sacrifice for the life of one sheep? When danger comes, will he run to save his life leaving his sheep unprotected?

A good shepherd lays down His own life for His sheep. When danger comes, the good shepherd runs to the threat and attacks it head-on. Each lamb’s life  is precious.

We have a Good Shepherd who loves us with a powerful, protective love. Our Shepherd is committed to us, caring for us, leading us and  loving us to the point of laying down His own life for us. He chose death in order to keep us with Him…forever.

Jesus, thank you.

Thank you for taking such tender care of us. Thank you for tending to our battered hearts and protecting us. Being part of your flock is the sweetest privilege. Your Word tells us that Your sheep know Your voice. Your voice, as our  Good Shepherd, keeps us close and we know we are never alone. Amen.

 

Spend some time pouring over the 23rd Psalm today. The Lord is my shepherd…

Hark, the Herald Angels Sing – Advent in Song

hark-the-herald-angels-sing

Music is a powerful tool in our worship, and Christmas carols add great meaning to our worship during Advent. On this day of worship, be musically reminded that Jesus, the “newborn King,” is “Prince of Peace,” “Son of Righteousness,” “Everlasting Lord,” “Incarnate Deity,” and, best of all, “Emmanuel” — “God with us.” Through this  hymn’s many rewritings and  regardless of whatever its many creators and editors would have thought about the hymn as it currently stands, the carol beautifully endures as a reminder of the great gift that God the Father  has given us in his Son Jesus Christ.

Let’s spend some time today singing, speaking and meditating on its timeless words…

Hark the herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!
Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled”
Joyful, all ye nations rise
Join the triumph of the skies
With the angelic host proclaim:
“Christ is born in Bethlehem”
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

 

Christ by highest heav’n adored
Christ the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come
Offspring of a Virgin’s womb
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see
Hail the incarnate Deity
Pleased as man with man to dwell
Jesus, our Emmanuel
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Hail the heav’n-born Prince of Peace!
Hail the Son of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings
Ris’n with healing in His wings
Mild He lays His glory by
Born that man no more may die
Born to raise the sons of earth
Born to give them second birth
Hark! The herald angels sing
“Glory to the newborn King!”

 

Lion of Judah – December 3

lion-of-judah

“Then one of the elders said to me, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able to open the scroll and its seven seals.” Revelation 5:5

In all honesty, Lion of Judah is one of my favorite names of Jesus. This name draws me back to C. S. Lewis and The Chronicles of Narnia...every time. These books and movies have fixed the picture of Jesus as the powerful lion, Aslan, in my heart and mind. In Lewis’ The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, Lucy asks Mr. Beaver innocently if Aslan is safe.

“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ‘Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good. He’s the King, I tell you.”

My heart shatters every time I read or watch this part.

No… Jesus is not safe…but He’s good…

Did you hear me?

He’s so good!

We confuse His meekness and humility with weakness, but my Jesus, the Lion of Judah, is not weak. He is not a pushover nor is He timid. He is fierce like a lion, and He stands with power. We see flashes of this when He turned over the tables of the merchants and collectors in the temple (Matthew 21:12-13).

The name “Lion of Judah” also speaks of His perfect faithfulness to keep His promises, and one day…

When the Lion of Judah returns as He has promised He will, the kingdom of darkness will tremble before Him as He pronounces justice…complete, perfect justice! This thought screams in my heart and my mind on days when I see His followers being beaten down, tossed about, and slain by the enemy…on days when it seems the enemy is scattering and dividing His believers and the Church…when fear and discouragement seem to dominate.

Is He safe? No…but He’s good…I tell you, and He is faithful.

Jesus, mighty Lion of Judah, Your strength brings comfort…Your faithfulness whispers reminders of hope. Your enemies are powerless before you. Remind me…Teach my weak and fearful heart once more how majestic are You are. May my response always be that of greatest humility, adoration, and worship. Amen.

%d bloggers like this: